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Suggestions for computer set up for feature length 2-D animation

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Neil Sickterman
Suggestions for computer set up for feature length 2-D animation
on Mar 2, 2011 at 4:31:49 am

I am trying to buy/build my first dedicated animation compositing editing machine. My budget for the machine is 2K max. Refurbished is OK. I plan to use After Effects 5.0, a Wacom cintiq 12W tablet, various onion peel and charactor coloring type programs. The style is hand inked, photoshop rendered backgrounds, and rotoscoped charactors. It is to be feature length (to be divided into 4 parts).

I dont know if it is important to have:

- A studio quality monitor (if so what is a good starter model?)

- How many cores are necessary - Min memory

- Min RPMs of hard disk, - Min. quantity of hard disks

- Min requirements Graphics Card

Suggestions?

This is a passion of mine I can not silence (have spent countless hours writing script, studying animation, drawing elaborate backgrounds, touching up and color rendering the backgrounds in photoshop) although I am an architect by trade.


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Cory Petkovsek
Re: Suggestions for computer set up for feature length 2-D animation
on Mar 2, 2011 at 9:52:37 am

So your project is hand drawn animation with some compositing of plates? Any system will do.

- Studio quality monitor? You're looking at $1000. Forget it. Get a nice 8-bit IPS lcd panel. I picked up an HP ZR24w for ~$400. It has very good color and uniformity and doesn't break the bank. I have an external broadcast monitor for broadcast quality color, but you're not doing video.

- Number of cores and memory - I'm running on a core2duo with 4gb of memory. It's fine. More would be nice, but this is fine for what you are doing. I'm editing and grading 4k red footage, and rendering 3d motion graphics on this thing. You'll be drawing. AE is CPU and memory bound, so the more the better, but anything down to a core2duo is quite adequate.

- Harddrive - don't waste your time with anything less than a 7200rpm drive. Even for a laptop; hold out for a 7200rpm drive, or plan to replace it. This is the single greatest performance loss for most systems. Otherwise, any size will be fine. I prefer seagate; a single 500gb seagate would be quite adequate. Make sure to get a backup drive.

- Min graphics card - Any recent, inexpensive nvidia card will work great for you, like a geforce 210. It should support DXVA (h264 hw acceleration) and cuda and opencl.

- Software - Get Windows 7 64-bit (any version), and CS5.

Cory

--
Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video


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Neil Sickterman
Re: Suggestions for computer set up for feature length 2-D animation
on Mar 2, 2011 at 5:07:18 pm

Cory and Ted,

Thanks for the insight. I had no idea a calibrator even existed but I had experienced some scary color differences in my work on various monitors thus far.

As for the system needs it is great to get input from experienced professionals in the editing field instead of pestering my tech savy friends who, well meaning as they are, don't know your field.

I anticipate posting more questions as I dive futher into this project. What a great Forum!


Best Regards,

Neil


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Suggestions for computer set up for feature length 2-D animation
on Mar 2, 2011 at 12:54:47 pm

I would look for an older system that was built for performance - a HP or DELL workstation, one of the top. A dell XPS H2C system that's a few years old will be a great option. You need a stable system that can run Windows XP and Windows 7, just do that you can have options when it comes to selecting the software. On the monitor I agree with Cory, get a decent led monitor and a calibrator.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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